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    Description

    Self Portrait, Etahdleuh Doanmoe, Kiowa
    c. 1878





    mixed media, titled at the bottom in pencil Etahdleuh Doanmoe (Kiowa)

    Provenance:
    Acquired by Alicia "Alice" Key Pendleton, daughter of Frances Scott Key, niece of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, and wife of George Hunt Pendleton, and their daughter Jane, during winter vacations at Saint Augustine, Florida, 1875-78.

    Dimensions: 15 ½ x 13 inches

    For any who might suspect the inscription may have been added by another, compare the signature here, with Etahdleuh's signed self-portrait in courting dress, done while on his own at the Bureau of American Ethnology in 1880:
    See image here.


    This is the only known self-portrait depicting Etahdleuh in his full war panoply, as he most-probably appeared during the Battle of Adobe Walls, Texas, June 27, 1874. During the three years he was incarcerated at Fort Marion, Etahdleuh wisely avoided any sort of drawing that might be construed as "evidence" of battles with any White men. By 1878, when this drawing was made, he was no longer imprisoned, but had just made a sea journey into a different future.

    Etahdleuh shows himself crowned with a headdress of golden eagle feathers that has a long feathered trailer, only partly seen to the right of his chin. This was an expensive decoration, more evidence that he was the son of a prominent family. The war shield suspended from his right shoulder has a long trailer similarly hung with nearly forty golden eagle tail feathers. This alone represents four dead eagles, each worth a good horse, in trade. His quiver-bowcase, made from dark-brown otter fur accented with red wool cloth and bordered with seed beadwork, is suspended from a wide strap across his left shoulder. In his right hand is carried what may be intended as the M-1869 Springfield trapdoor "Cadet Rifle," with its short muzzle and double bands on the forestock. This was manufactured only in 1870-1872. See image here.

    See image here.


    The "Cadet Rifle" was an elite and expensive firearm on the frontier, and more evidence of his family's prominence.

    Etahdleuh wears a black wool vest over a blue cotton shirt; yellow-painted, leather leggings; beaded moccasins; a red-wool breechcloth; and has a "double-wide" wool blanket, half red, half dark blue, wrapped around his waist. This was the warrior's ever-present "overcoat," and "bedroll."On his chest is worn a breastplate made of tubular shell or bone hairpipes laced between strips of belt leather studded with brass upholstery tacks. Compare the 1868 portrait of Kiowa chief Kicking Bird, wearing many of the same types of garments, and also with an otter-fur quiver-bowcase:

    National Museum of Natural History, Neg. No. 01625--2 See image here.



    An important detail, not documented elsewhere, is the "war paint" motif across his mouth and chin. We see only half of the design, as his face is in profile. The curved line at the corner of his mouth is neither a "smile," nor a "mustache," but is intended as one horn on the head of the Tsoi-gadal, or Underwater Bull. The other horn was painted at the other corner of his mouth; and the paired lines below frame the sides of the head of the beast, with Etahdleuh's own mouth as the invincible maw of Death.

    Tsoi-gadal, the Underwater Bull, detail
    of a painted hide showing "The Gods
    and Mythic Creations of the Kiowas,"
    by Silver Horns (Haungooah), 1904.
    U.S. National Museum of Natural History,
    Cat. No. E229900.
    See image here.


    Of this creature, James Mooney learned: "To the left is the Kiowa conception of the mastodon, known to them from the fossil bones frequently found in clay banks, and imagined to be those of a deep-river monster under the name of Tsoi-gadal, the Water Bull." The Tsoi-gadal was believed to "eat" the souls of any who drowned. Here, Etahdleuh shows himself as the acolyte of the Tsoi-gadal, who will "eat" any enemies that oppose him. The motif was both a warning, and a promise; and may have been based on a visionary experience.

    Etahdleuh's horse, his partner in the dangerous business of war, is also dressed for combat. Its tail is neatly wrapped with strips of red wool cloth, and hung with eagle feathers. Its mane is accented in bands of white paint. The bridle is decorated with stamped and engraved plaques and conchos made of nickel-silver, that might flash reflected sunlight as the horse tossed its head, simulating lightning. A folded blue blanket forms the only "saddle," held in place with a cinch of red wool cloth. The same material forms a chest band, and a "necktie," under the horse's throat. The charger's ears have been split at the tips, marking him as an elite racer.

    Mike Cowdrey
    May 15, 2018






    Condition Report*: In overall good to very good condition.  Paper with minor loss to lower left corner.  Paint colors vivid.  Water (?) damage, approx. 12 1/2 " in length, along bottom edge.  Some foxing apparent, especially in the upper right quadrant.  Two faint areas of discoloration (foxing) along the lower left side. Frame with a few dings.  No apparent restoration.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2018
    26th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
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